Groups put faith in study to improve palliative care

    Children’s palliative care campaigners are confident a review of the sector will help end its “Cinderella” status within child health.

    Charities the Association of Children’s Hospices (ACH) and the Association for Children’s Palliative Care (Act) want the Department of Health-sponsored review to deliver a national strategy for the sector, backed by targets, local commissioning strategies and an extra £24m over three years.

    A summary of 150 consultation responses to the review, published last week by the DH, revealed that services were patchy, unplanned and under-funded in many areas and low down the NHS’s list of priorities.

    ACH chief executive Barbara Gelb said: “I believe we’ve got strong support within the DH. I’ve been told by senior officials they are very committed to picking up the recommendations and ensure they are driven forward.”

    Act chief executive Lizzie Chambers said the review had put the sector “back on the map again”. She said children’s palliative care had been badly hit by NHS cuts and was “not a huge priority for social services”.

    Last year, the government announced £27m for children’s hospices over three years, which respondents said was welcome but insufficient, too short-term and failed to target community services.

    The review is to report in full next month.

    Further information
    Association of Children’s Hospices

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    Children’s services

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     Mithran Samuel

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